Premium Room at YOTEL Gatwick

Monday, 20 March 2017

I often find myself in a bit of a situation when I travel, especially when it's an early or a late flight. From Stanstead, it's literally 15 minutes in the car but any other airport in London is a bit harder. The trains don’t run that early so trains aren't an option, I have toyed with the idea of getting a cab but that also means getting up at a ridiculous hour so I've resided that staying nearby in a hotel is usually the best bet. When I started searching, I assumed that I’d still have to get to the airport from the hotel but it’d be five minutes rather than 90; that wasn’t the case when I stayed at YOTEL last year because it was actually inside the airport! If that’s not convenience for you, then I don’t know what is!
I came across YOTEL by chance and I’ll be honest, I only clicked on it because I thought it was some kind of sushi emporium but apparently not. They have the same founder but there was no sushi here, instead I found a hotel made up of sleeping pod style rooms underneath the Gatwick South terminal.  It's a pay by hour system with a minimum stay of 4 hours at £34, making it perfect for me to book in from 7pm to leave 3am. Alot of people also use it to have somewhere to rest between connecting flights.
After a full day at work and battling through Victoria station at 6pm with a suitcase, I was relieved to arrive at the airport and be sat on the bed in my room within ten minutes of getting off of the Gatwick Express! Check-in at reception or “Mission Control” as they called it was very speedy and the guys was friendly and thorough about how it all works. He explained how to use the lights and the bed and sent me off down the corridor to my room with an alarm clock and another bottle of water in tow.
I stayed in a premium room and I was surprised by just how well these little pods are looked after; crisp white sheets, toilet paper was folded and the rest of the bathroom was one of the most sparkling spotless I have ever seen. The room is 110 sqft but somehow manages to fit in everything you need. The bathroom was actually the perfect size and the rest of the room was absolutely perfect once you got used to it. Everything was in its place, the bed electronically folds up and down so when you are not sleeping, it doubles as a comfy sofa to watch TV on. There is also a fold up desk and chair in case you want to get some work done with the free Wi-Fi! Along with complementary tea, coffee and bottles of water from reception, a full length mirror with a couple of hangers, it had everything I needed.
I settled down for the evening on the fluffy bed with my M&S salad, a tube of pringles and the GBBO Final! Not a bad way to spend an evening pre-flight!
*Thank you to YOTEL for hosting me. My review is 100% my honest opinion

The Generator Hostel, London

Monday, 13 March 2017

You might be wondering why I was staying at a hostel when I live here so let me explain! The 28th of Feb was a busy day this year; Pancake Day, obviously but it was also National Public Sleeping Day (whatever that means) so the guys at The Generator invited a bunch of us bloggers to come and celebrate.
The Generator is in a great location, not only for a traveler coming from St Pancras but for me coming from work, it was 20 minute walk (Tottenham court road if anyone cares.) The hostel has a street front which makes it very easy to find -  you have to walk down the little alley next to it which brings you to the hostel itself. I was first to arrive and very pleased when the lady at reception told me I’d been given a bottom bunk. All about the bottom bunk; Do you guys have a preference?
Whoever deals with their playlist has amazing taste in music because the 90's were the soundtrack to our evening and everyone loved it. Music was playing loud all night through reception and the common areas; amazingly you couldn’t hear any of it from inside the room. I was staying in room 105 which is on the same floor and probably as close to reception as you can get. Our 8 bed dorm was spacious and light with a sink in the corner and two bathrooms, each with a toilet, sink and two showers just outside.
According to the website, these 8 bed dorms don’t exist but a similar 10 bed ones costs £12 per night (although that price changes every time I check - when I checked for a Tuesday night in April, it was £22). The beds were clean and comfortable and there were big storage lockers under them although you need to bring your own lock. Connecting to the wifi was easy with just my name and email but when I set about trying to charge my phone before everyone else arrived, I was shocked to find that there were only two plug sockets in the room! I went to inquire at reception and they quickly brought us an extension lead so it wasn't a problem. Outside of the room, there were so many sockets - I guess its all about bringing people out of their rooms, The Generator are all about getting people talking.

When the other girls arrived, we popped open the champagne that the team had left for us and made our way to the cinema style common room. By now the whole place was packed, it was a Tuesday night and the hostel was totally full. We had a look around the bar, the food area and the coffee/snack area and there were people everywhere. I know I’ve only stayed in 4 hostels so far but this one was by far the biggest and most social.

The evening was spent making cocktails; and then making pancakes before going out for some drinks! They had organised a private bar crawl for us and while most of the girls stayed at the hostel, Rosie, Kristy and Kristina, the three who I was sharing a dorm with were up for a night out! We caught a bus to Camden and partied the night away.

I woke up pretty early since none of us thought to close the curtains when we rolled in at 2am but it was a very comfortable night’s sleep. In the morning we had a cooked breakfast. I went for the bagel benedict (£6.50) which was just what I needed after the night before; the girls had a fry up which cost the same. After that, we handed in the keys and that was that; my little overnight stay ended with a walk back to the office. 
 *The Generator hosted me although all thoughts are my own

Rose Gold Travel Tech From Primark

Monday, 6 March 2017

The more I travel, the more I notice myself wishing I had certain things with me; many a night abroad have I spend stressing about whether to charge my phone or my camera because I'd only brought one adapter with me. Things like this kept happening so I made a list of all the techy things I needed to get for future trips and went on the hunt for them. What I didn't expect was that I would be able to find everything I needed in Primark or, that I'd be able to pick them all up for just over £50.
Portable Chargers £6 / £8
These days, I don't even go to work, let alone travel to another country without at least one of these with me. I got back from Portugal late last night and today is the first time I've ever forgotten to bring my wire with me; que mini breakdown when I got to work. I bought my first one in Primark years ago and still use it today although they've upgraded the ones in store a little bit now. With a new sleeker design, and a range of colours to choose from (all of these things come in rose gold uh-mazing!) there is also a choice of power; you can now get a 200mAh which is enough for one charge or a 400mAh which is enough for two!
Rose Gold Headphones £10
 I've never had a pair of big headphones but after 20 hours on a plane home from Bali via Hong Kong last year, I promised myself I'd get some for any more long haul flights. As I'm sure you are aware, the headphones that they airlines give you are absolutely terrible and my normal headphones are just little ear buds which aren't so comfortable after a few hours. Also they fell out every time I moved which is pretty annoying when it took 10 minutes just to get comfortable in the first place.
Action Camera £28
I think the next product was the one I was most surprised to see in store; the action camera. I love my GoPro but it's an expensive purchase (plus my one doesn't have a screen which is really annoying). Primark's action camera is the same size, it comes in a waterproof case and it has a screen! Whilst the photos and videos are not as good quality, they were actually better than I was expecting (see here) and would be fine for sharing on Facebook. The camera is super easy to use and comes with 6 different fittings, as well as a 8mb memory card so you dont have to buy one! 
Worldwide adapter £10
Again, for that trip, we did all the research, we spent £15 on plug adapters before we left and it turns out they use the same plugs in Hong Kong and Bali as they do in Europe so that was a big waste of money. Anyone else find it impossible to get a proper idea of what plugs sockets look like around the world? Anyway, Primark are selling a changeable USB adapter which solves this problem so we'll never have to buy an adapter again. Rather than a mains to mains socket, this one is mains to USB with two ports meaning I can change my phone and my GoPro at once. If only I had one of these for past press trips.
Jeans & Jacket - Primark | Jumper - Matalan | Vans - Foot Locker*

What are your tech travel essentials?

*The electronics were gifted to me by Primark but my review is 100% honest

The cutest pink apartment and why we chose it over a hotel

Monday, 27 February 2017

When I spot a hotel that I like the look of, it goes on the list and we save it for a celebration. For us, staying in London is more about the accommodation because London is home and we are not there to explore, we are there to relax and spend some time together. Going back to our old favourites is still something both of us enjoy but nothing beats the feeling of falling in love with somewhere new.

As you know, my eyes have been opened the the world of alternative accommodation recently and with that in mind, I set about finding something different for Valentine's day just gone. I did scout out some hostels but we still wanted our weekend to be relaxing and have an element of luxury to it. I came across alot of quirky hotels (more for the list) but I also came across a few different serviced apartments.
I'd never stayed at a serviced apartment so I didn't really know what I was looking for although I fell in love with the design at Leman Locke in Aldgate; so that we initially picked this one. We really enjoyed our time there so I thought I'd share a few reasons why we will consider them again in the future:

As two people who both live at home with their parents, this was something we both really loved about having an apartment. Hotel rooms can be very small, especially if you aren't prepared to fork out for one of the more expensive rooms but we picked the smallest apartment and it was a similar size to some of the suites you would get at a hotel. We had a bedroom, a particularly large bathroom (we requested one with a bath) and a kitchen and living area meaning there was lots of space to move around and a few different rooms to go in. 

They are serviced apartments so they still get cleaned, just less often. Rather than every single day, its once ever three days which is probably better if you are looking to stay for a few weeks for example. We were only there for two nights so we didn't see a cleaner but I liked knowing that everything was going to be exactly where I left it.
Unlike when you rent a normal apartment, they are ready to live in and have all all the normal stuff you would expect to find in a hotel room like bath towels, bedding and mini toiletries. Each apartment is fully furnished and the kitchen was stocked up with all the equipment you'll need. Along with the oven, microwave and hob (and a washing machine and dishwasher), there were pots and pans, cutlery and even a recipe book. They left us a bottle of water, some tea bags and some milk but we popped to the shop for the essentials. Friday night fajitas it was!

In the living area, each apartment has a signature Leman Locke pink sofa and an apple TV. With the screen mirroring and the fast wifi, I was able to catch up on a whole weeks worth of Eastenders.
The building also has its own gym but we didn't have time to visit. 
As I mentioned, we popped across the road to the shops. There was a sainsburys and a tesco within a five minute walk as well as a cinema. Leman Locke is just down the road from Aldgate East station so it was the perfect base for a weekend in Shoreditch - more on that in another post!
Obviously this is a very important factor when picking somewhere to stay and in the past we have paid extortionate amounts for a night at a hotel in London. We stayed here for two nights, on the weekend before Valentines day and paid £245. We have paid over that for one night at some other place places so we thought it was a really good deal.
Have You Stayed in a Serviced Apartment?

The Junior Suite At M By Montcalm, Shoreditch

Monday, 20 February 2017

It seemed like our anniversary passed us by last year; we were on a plane back from Hong Kong for most of it and spent the rest of the week too exhausted to do anything but Andrew being Andrew, he decided to book us a little romantic staycation a couple of weeks later. 
The M by Montcalm hotel is that strange building that has popped up on City Road, just down the road from Old Street Station. We were in London early so we though we'd chance it and see if we could check in and luckily for us, the room was ready so we were able to go straight away. We had booked the Feel Better deal in the Junior suite and it came to around £300 (in October 2016.) Alone with the room, we were given a couple of vouchers to spend in the club lounge on the 16th floor. We didn't get time to spend them but I love all the surprise perks you get when you book a suite, drinks were around £8 so that actually would have got you quite a bit.

Whilst this hotel is the sister hotel to The Montcalm Marble Arch which we stayed at earlier last year but it's completely different. Being less than a year old and surrounded by the trendy, start-up culture in Shoreditch, the hotel is an edgy, modern space and full of young, creative people and that is what we are all about at the moment. The room had white sheets, simple furniture, straight lines and lots of light but Andrew actually picked this hotel because of how it integrated technology into the rooms. Everything is controlled by tablets from the curtains to the heating. He loves all that kind of stuff but it's not something that I'm a huge fan of  because it can be a little bit of a pain when you need to go to the toilet in the middle of the night.

 Apart from that, the room was a lovely size with lots of living space in the middle. The bed was majorly comfortable (and sprinkled with rose petals for our anniversary) and there was lots of light coming in from the windows. 

We spent some time downstairs in the gym before coming back up to the room to get ready for dinner! I love to take ages getting ready when we have a nice hotel bathroom and I took a particularly long time here. The bathroom was stocked up with Hermés goodies and staying in a suite meant that we had complimentary use of The Bath Butler. Okay it's not as weird as it sounds, basically its a small list of bath time treats, I went for one called Bubble Bliss and right on time (4.30 to be precise) a woman turned up with a bottle of champagne and a plate of chocolate and strawberries before disappearing into our bathroom to set up. Twenty minutes later she said good bye and left us to enjoy the bath.
The hotel is in a really great location, less than five minutes walk from Old Street station so after we had finished our champagne, we got ready for dinner and walked to The Red Dog Saloon in Hoxton Sqaure. We have a habit of accidentally picking almost identical outfits and it happened again here..
Overall we had a pretty lovely stay and yes, we would visit again. There are just two small things that I want to point out to you guys as they will be something that we actively avoid next time. We had booked the Feel Better deal which included an overnight stay, breakfast and a 20 minute head or foot massage each and whilst we loved the room, the other two parts of this deal were not up to scratch. When we came to book in our treatments (two weeks prior to our stay) they didn't have any slots left which is really bad practice if I’m honest, it should have been mentioned at the time of booking! Initially they were very unhelpful about this but after putting up a bit of a fuss, we were refunded £30 off of the price. As for breakfast, there wasn't necessarily anything wrong with it, it was just a bit of a cattle market. I was expecting an a la carte menu but what I got was a small buffet that never got refilled.

Have You Stayed Here Before?

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